British Attitudes and Actions
Signs of Unrest and Disaffection

Indian Responses
White Responses
Global Responses

Revizualising and Reimagining the Mutiny
Sacred Spaces & Contested Sites


Delhi Mutiny Papers - Press List   - A descriptive British index of the 'Mutiny Papers' now held in the National Archives of India, New Delhi. The papers, in Urdu and Persian describe activities in the city and the court of the Mughal emperor during the time of the Uprising.

Napier to Wellington 1849  - Extracts of a report addressed to the Duke of Wellington on the 'Military State of India, 27 November 1849 - Napier sees 'nothing to fear'from the Indian Army.

Papers Relating To The Resignation Of Napier  

Mutiny-Bengal Army  

Napier to Wellington 1850  - Extract from a letter from General Sir C.J. Napier to the Duke of Wellington, dated Simla, 15 June 1850 - discusses problems of discipline in the Bengal Army, especially with regard to the ascendancy of Brahmins in the force.

Indian Army Establishment  - A Return of Troops in India, April 1857

Agra Intelligence Reports on the Treatment of European Females (Dec. 1857)   - The results of an enquiry into the mistreatment of European women instigated after the restoration of British control in north India. Striking for its attempt to contradict the lurid tales which had so inspired the ferocity of British troops in the preceeding months.

Petition for the Recall of the Governor General - copy of petition from the Citizens of Calcutta which describe events of the mutiny, criticize the local government's inaction, and call for the dismissal of Lord Canning. Marginal notes on the text express disagreement with the statements of the petitioners. Followed by related correspondence.

Proceedings of the April 1858 Trial of Bahadur Shah Zafar 'King of Delhi' (Parliamentary Papers, June 1859) - this includes Bahadur Shah's statement in defence.

Papers Relating to the Public Press in India up 1857 (Parliamentary Papers, May 1858) - An attempt to assess the extent to which unrest might have been anticipated.

Canning Proclamation - letters from the Court of Directors to the Governor General of India, 5, 18 May 1858, setting out terms for punishment and amnesty of rebels, in the light of Canning's proclamation

Queen's Proclamation. - Copies of the Proclamations of 1st and 2nd November 1858 to the Princes, Chiefs, and People of India

Orders for the summary execution of the 26th native infantry. - Letter from Sir R Montgomery to Lord Stanley, 29 April 1859 responding to criticism expressed in the British Parliament at this action

Post-Mutiny Disposition of Troops - Lord Canning's despatch from Simla, 5 May 1860 detailing measures to be taken for the "safe defence of Bengal".


1. Projects in Local British Archives

If any of these local record offices are situated near your school or college, you may wish to undertake a project which will help to add new materials to our archive database. The information you find can be supplemented by local research about the persons named in the documents.

Click on the places listed below to find out more about local records connected to the 1857 mutiny:

Bedford Gloucester Northamptonshire
Berkshire Herefordshire Northumberland
Birmingham Hertfordshire Nottinghamshire
Bristol Hull Sheffield
Buckinghamshire Kent Shropshire
Cambridgeshire Lancashire Somerset
Cheshire Leeds Southampton
Cornwall Leicestershire Suffolk
Cumbria Lincolnshire Sussex
Derbyshire London Warwickshire
Devon Manchester Wiltshire
Dorset Norfolk Yorkshire

2. Projects in Local Libraries

If there are no suitable archives in your area, or another school/college is already looking at the local archive holdings, you may opt for a newspaper project. This will involve visiting your local library to search through local newspapers for the period 1857 and after, to find news of the Indian mutiny and to describe and analyse how it was reported. Additional types of information you may find are:

  1. Information about meetings held to set up the Indian Relief Fund to help sufferers from the mutiny [rather like the tsunami fund set up in the wake of the Indian Ocean disaster recently]
  2. lists of local people who contributed to the Indian Relief Fund perhaps your family is among them?
  3. Newspaper reports on local people who were in India at the time of the mutiny
  4. Obituaries of local people who were connected with events in India .
  5. Memorial services for victims of the mutiny, and thanksgiving services for the end of the conflict

CLICK HERE for some examples of local library holdings across Britain inclding a DETAILED LISTING of manuscripts and publications on 1857 held in the NATIONAL LIBRARY OF SCOTLAND.

3. Projects in Museums

Museums also may have attached libraries and one can sometimes find material that one would not normally associate with its main subject.  CLICK HERE for some British examples.

Regimental museums in Britain generally have medal rolls, casualty lists, and occasionally collections of soldiers' letters. CLICK HERE for a few examples:

4. Local Family Histories

You may find that families in your area have letters and diaries of ancestors who were in India at the time of the mutiny or had relatives who were involved, and have not placed these precious documents in local archives. Others may simply have information about family members who were serving or living in India at that time. Suitable projects would include write-ups about local people or families with some connection to the events of 1857, especially if these include photographs or other visual objects related to the rebellion. One way to gain access to such material is to get your local media involved, by informing your local radio station or newspaper about the project and asking them to publicize your school/college project.

5. Analysis and Comparison of Historical Texts

Different types of historical documents and fictional accounts offer contrasting perspectives on the events of 1857.
CLICK HERE for some further examples of historical texts and books, and literature about the rebellion that you can consult.

Your school/college project might be to choose texts that have a particular relevance to your area and compare or analyse them, as has been done in the examples given.

6. Fiction Writing & Book Cover or Image Design

After looking at some of the fictional stories available about the rebellion, why not try your hand at writing your own story about the events of 1857? You may also wish to design a book cover or an illustration to go with your story.

Look at the Images page of this website to get some ideas about how incidents from 1857 were depicted. How realistic do you think the representations of the rebels are?

View this slide show for examples of how Indian school children visualize the rebellion. How would you draw an event or symbol from 1857?

7. The Mutiny Around the World

The events in India in 1857 reverberated around the world. Local newspapers carried reports, money was raised for sufferers in the war, troops and other supplies were sent to India from South Africa and other Indian Ocean colonies of the British, and all over the globe people discussed this important event. Some newspapers in Ireland and America supported the rebels; many more around the world were concerned to see the status quo restored, while in Mauritius, the Caribbean, Singapore and Australia, the press also discussed possible local implications of these events, such as the sending of transported mutineers to their territories.

CLICK HERE for some examples of newspaper reports from various countries.

Your school/college project might be to find, discuss and/or translate similar newspaper reports that have a relevance to your local area or country.

For years after the rebellion was over, events connected to it continued to play a part in people's lives. In India, memorials were erected and folk tales grew up around the participation of people or villages in the affected region. Elsewhere around the world, memorials to the mutiny can be found in obituaries, on tombstones, and elsewhere as people who participated in it, both on the British and Indian sides, died, or left personal souvenirs in local collections.

CLICK HERE for some examples of local legends and stories about the mutiny.

You can also look at the Images page of this website for a few examples of memorials from around the world.

Your school/college project could be to collect and discuss local stories about the rebellion, and discuss their veracity or accuracy.